Skylar Burris's Reviews > Dawn

Dawn by Elie Wiesel
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Jan 22, 08

it was amazing
bookshelves: judaism
Read in January, 1991

Dawn is a beautifully written but disturbing novel about an Israeli terrorist waiting to assassinate a British officer in retaliation for the hanging of an Israeli. This novel evokes a great deal of thought about stopping violence with violence and hate with hate. Reflecting on the persecution the Jews have suffered, the young assassin Elisha says: "Now our only chance lies in hating you, in learning the necessity of the art of hate." However, the novel seems ultimately to say that hatred must be fought, or else we are lost.
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message 1: by Petra X (new)

Petra X The description (Goodreads) says Elisha is "a young Israeli freedom fighter" In your short (and interesting) review, you have reclassified him twice. Firstly as 'an Israeli terrorist' and secondly as 'the young assassin Elisha'. I wonder what it was that made you change the whole slant of the character to its opposite?


message 2: by Skylar (last edited Jan 12, 2011 04:01PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skylar Burris Petra, I don't know that I consider "terroist" and "assasin" to be polar opposites, or to be a "whole" change in slant. It's been a long time since I read this, but I remember he was portrayed sympathetically while, at the same time, with the acknowledgment that he was murdering an innocent man. The whole situation, all around, was depicted as sad - a symptom of human brokenenss. (I never noticed your comment before and so am just replying now.) I didn't realize the blurb called him a "freedom fighter." That's not really how Wiesel depicts it; that is, there isn't that sense of the heroic about it at all; it's all very sad, complex - almost a sense of being trapped.


John really great review, skylar. thanks.
also, I agree with you. he is both a freedom fighter and assassin. the events in the book, which are viewed from the perspective of elisha, show him in a number of situations, taking on a different role each time. Elisa considers himself a murderer, and trys repeatedly to justify his intended action. he is, as you say, broken, a shell of his former self.


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